The Learning Tree | Chicago Reader

The Learning Tree

Based on his autobiographical novel, Gordon Parks's 1969 film was the first black movie to be backed by a Hollywood major. Not surprisingly, it's conventional and rather toothless—a lyrical look at growing up black and poor of the kind that reached its cliche death with Norman Lear's Palmerstown, USA. The picture sank without a trace, but three years later Parks was back with Shaft, a movie that did spark a movement, however short-lived. With Kyle Johnson, Alex Clarke, and Estelle Evans.



  • Gordon Parks


  • Kyle Johnson
  • Alex Clarke
  • Estelle Evans
  • Dana Elcar
  • Mira Waters


  • Gordon Parks


  • Gordon Parks

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